Royal Navy to Accelerate AI Adoption to ‘Increase Lethality’

AI road map details plan to increase AI adoption through new test projects on acoustics and underwater autonomy

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

September 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Navy ship
MoD/Crown copyright 2013

At a Glance

  • The British Royal Navy unveiled plans to expand its AI capabilities, to increase tactical fire chains & logistics.

The British Royal Navy says it wants to "increase the lethality" of its current forces by deploying AI capabilities.

The Royal Navy unveiled its AI adoption road map at the DSEI event last week in London, outlining its aspiration to “accelerate AI adoption across the spectrum.”

The road map, which can be found in a post on the government’s contractor portal, focuses on six core areas the navy wants AI to focus on:

  • Tactical fire chains

  • Dynamic situational awareness

  • Autonomous systems

  • Optimized mission planning

  • Smart logistics

  • People, finance and commercial processes

The navy says the need to scale AI can’t be understated and points to the effectiveness of AI deployments in the war in Ukraine as a prime example of the need to scale. Ukrainian defenders have made great use of autonomous systems in its fight against Russian forces, including drones to target supply lines behind enemy lines.

The British Navy also announced the establishment of the Naval AI Cell (NAIC), a team tasked with identifying and advancing AI capabilities. The NAIC team will be involved in “pathfinder projects” which are key projects the navy is looking to test out AI capabilities. Those projects include using AI for acoustics, underwater autonomy and counter-uncrewed air systems.

Related:Pentagon's Replicator: ‘Small, Smart, Cheap and Many’ Autonomous Systems

The navy is also looking to establish a standardized method for validating the application of AI to increase capability. Part of that process will involve the creation of a dedicated use case database.

The navy has been testing AI capabilities for some time. Last April, it purchased autonomous mine-hunting systems from German naval electronics developer Atlas Elektronik.

AI is a key focus for the British Ministry of Defense, with second permanent secretary Laurence Lee appearing on the AI Business Podcast earlier this year to discuss the transformation of the country’s military into an AI-ready force.

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Applied Intelligence

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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